What’s all the fuss about Parabens?

Parabens – what are they? Why are more and more manufacturers labelling their products as paraben-free? Why is paraben-free so important? One of my customers asked me these questions this week and so has spurred me on to write this (previously promised) blog post.

ID-100115115Parabens are synthetically made chemicals, derived from petroleum, and are produced very cheaply and used by the beauty industry to increase the shelf-life of products largely to prevent fungal growth within products. The individual ingredient usually ends in paraben e.g. propylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, and less commonly heptylparaben, isobutyparaben, isobutylparaben, benzylparaben.

There is an opinion that the amount of parabens in each product is so tiny that it is negligible to the potential risks. This opinion is flawed because it does not take into consideration the very nature of personal-care products allows for daily exposure to these chemicals and the continued and gradual build up of toxicity within the body. What are the effects after prolonged and repeated use?

Parabens, once entering the body, mimic oestrogen, thus creating imbalance in our endocrine system. As they are fat soluble, so they are stored within our bodies. The absorption of substances through the skin and mucous membranes is particularly disturbing, because the body’s normal filters, the kidneys and liver, are bypassed.

Oestrogen mimicking is a concern because even the smallest amounts can disrupt the normal hormonal balance of the body. Oestrogens are known to be a cancer trigger. So one could deduce that increased levels of oestrogen in the body could be a potential cause of cancer. This is why parabens are linked in particular to breast cancer, as studies showed that parabens have been found, intact, within breast tumours. http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/radiation-chemicals-and-breast-cancer/parabens.html

Parabens are also known as a reproductive toxin causing infertility issues, generally from low sperm count. Some countries have enough doubts about their safety that they have been banned in product use, especially for children’s products.

Beware, though, of brands labelling their products as “paraben-free” when they have switched the parabens for another synthetic and potentially hazardous preservative, simply to save the brand name over concerns of health risks to the consumer. But this is for another blog post.

So you know how I’m going to summarize don’t you? Use a brand that you can trust. Use organic. Use natural. Use Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic.

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.




Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net